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It’s been over a decade since Tier 6 was added to the New York state pension system. Since then, over 50,000 UFT members earn a significantly reduced pension as compared to earlier tiers. Help the UFT and NYSUT Fix Tier 6

This fight is a long game. These changes will take time, but we’ve made big changes before. Together, we can put the pressure on and make it happen.  

Our campaign

While Tier 6 provides a pension with a lifetime payment, it is not as beneficial as previous tiers.

The next big reform we want to focus on: 

  • Lower the retirement age for Tier 6 members to age 55 after 30 years of service 

Thanks to our advocacy, we've already won some pension improvements:

As part of the 2023 state budget, we fought for and won a change to the final average salary calculation for Tier 6 members — to match Tier 4 — that will result in a higher pension benefit upon retirement. 

In 2022, Tier 6 member vesting dropped from ten to five years, in line with Tier 4 members, guaranteeing a pension benefit for 85,000 Tier 6 members. 

What are the differences between the tiers?

Members of Tier 6 started working for the DOE on or after April 1, 2012, and those who began working on or before Aug. 31, 1983 and prior to April 1, 2012 are members of Tier 4. However, not only dates separate the two tiers--there are significant differences in pension benefits between them:

Basic Tier 4 Late-generation Tier 4
(55 program)
Current Tier 6
Can retire without pension reductions at 55 with 30 years of service Can retire without pension reductions at 55 with 25/27 years of service* Must wait until age 63 to retire without pension reductions
Pension contributions capped at 3% of salary Pension contributions capped at 4.85% of salary Contribution rate increases as salary increases, up to 6%
Pension contributions end after 10 years of service Pension contributions end or decrease after 25/27 years* Contributions are mandatory for entire career
Final average salary = average of three highest consecutive years Final average salary = average of three highest consecutive years Final average salary = average of five highest consecutive years

*Dependent on which Age 55 Tier 4 program member is enrolled in 

Why does this matter? 

  • Fixing Tier 6 is about solidarity and fairness
    It’s unfair that some UFT members must work longer, and contribute more, to earn a significantly reduced pension. This should anger ALL union members.

  • Fixing Tier 6 is about keeping talented educators in the classroom and recruiting new educators into the profession
    Forcing younger members into a lesser pension system undervalues our profession. Our work is important. Our pensions should reflect that.

  • Fixing Tier 6 is about unity and power
    When we stand together in solidarity, we have power.

How can you get involved?

We know how to fix this … but we can’t do it without you. Whether you’re a retiree or a Tier 4 or 6 member, you can help UFT and NYSUT Fix Tier 6.